Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dangerous Detergent

Recently at the Arlington animal shelter we received a note from a concerned, distraught citizen who lost her cat to a terrible household disaster. According to the note, her beloved feline accidentally ingested Tide laundry detergent. While the caution on the bottle and, upon inquiry, the caution that we received from Tide was to simply ensure that the cat had plenty of water to drink, the events that occurred suggest that the true effect of laundry detergent on a pet are much worse than understood.

Here is an excerpt from her note that describes what her poor cat endured:

Poison Control told us my cat would probably have an upset stomach; the vets went ahead and treated her on that basis, thinking she'd get well. Instead, the esophageal burns kept her from eating; the feeding tube in her nose fed her, but internal burns stopped her from eliminating waste. Her condition improved at first (in terms of blood work) but, in the end, unable to eliminate waste, her breathing became labored and red blood count values started a downward slide and the only kind thing was to let her go. Had Poison Control had a more accurate picture of what she would suffer, I'd have let go before, not wanting her to suffer, as she was a huge part of our family and we loved her dearly.

I cannot imagine the pain the cat endured and the sadness that this loving cat owner must have felt to see her cat go through such a disaster. Being an animal lover, myself, and a new mother or a little baby, I find myself terribly concerned that such a simple household accident could have such a tremendous effect and that poison control did not seem to be of much help under these circumstances.

While I, personally, will be even more cautious about all household cleaners and other dangers, it makes me wonder what other unknown dangers might be lurking around my home.

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